Finals finished

Posted in Journal by Mike Stay on 2006 December 15

Complex analysis went stunningly well–I got a 95% on the midterm, far better than the guy whose notes I studied! The final was iffy up to the last few minutes when I had a couple breakthroughs (I think.)

I was dreading real analysis, though; I got a 50% on the midterm and hadn’t understood much since then. I actually survived, though. There was only one question I had no idea how to answer. I know I got a few of them right because I studied those problems before the test. I guess we’ll see if it’s good enough.

I really wish there was a good way to include math markup in blogspot. Something they do with their CSS makes MathML render wrong.


Posted in Journal by Mike Stay on 2006 December 13

I spent yesterday morning building a water rocket with Martin for Aidan’s birthday present. It was based on a vague memory of one Dad made years ago.

I drilled a hole in a plank deep enough for an inverted 2-liter bottle to go up to the rim around the neck. (Marty sat on the board to keep it from moving.) I mounted two metal L-brackets with a slot down the center of one side on either side with a single screw in the slot. (Marty screwed them in.) I didn’t tighten the screw all the way down; the play allows the bracket to reach over the rim on the neck of the bottle and also to slide away quickly. Once the brackets are over the rim, I lift both and put shims underneath.

I also drilled a hole about 1cm wide all the way through the plank; I inserted the valve of an old bike tire and a few more layers of tire with a hole in the center. (Marty cut up the rest of the tire to “help”.) This allowed the bottle to be pressed tightly against the rubber to form a good seal. Getting the seal right was the hardest part.

I tried using a small water bottle first; the pressure got too high too quickly, so after a few abortive misfires I switched to the two-liter. There, with more room, the pressure increases much slower and maintains pressure for longer after launching. (Note to self: try some combination of 2L bottles!)

Ten pumps on the bike pump shot the thing around 30-35m high. I think Aidan will like it.

Potion +5 against Sandman

Posted in Fun links, Perception, Time by Mike Stay on 2006 December 4

Coolest crossover idea I’ve ever heard

Posted in Fun links by Mike Stay on 2006 December 2

Terminator, The Matrix, and Battlestar Galatica:

"I looked out the window and what did I see…"

Posted in Chemistry, Fun links by Mike Stay on 2006 December 2

Salting your popcorn with liquid sodium and chlorine gas!

Week 241

Posted in History, Math, Quantum by Mike Stay on 2006 December 1

LIGO, the Fool’s Golden Ratio and Stonehenge’s Platonic solids 1600 years before Plato.

Killer Asteroids

Posted in Astronomy, History by Mike Stay on 2006 December 1

Large asteroid impacts may be WAY more common than we think.

A pool of oobleck

Posted in Fun links by Mike Stay on 2006 December 1

Star Wars Kid remixes

Posted in Fun links by Mike Stay on 2006 December 1

White and nerdy

Posted in Fun links by Mike Stay on 2006 December 1

Coming from one who speaks Javascript and Klingon, Weird Al’s White and Nerdy is brilliant.